Is Paul Krugman Insane or Retarded or Both?

By Malcolm Campbell

Questions for Paul Krugman, the high priest of Keynesian economic dogma:

Since the time whence Pres Nixon uttered, “We are all Keynesians Now.”

  • Why have wages for the common man not increased? 
  • And, why is poverty still increasing?

For the past 40+ years we have been “all-in”, and since the time of FDR and Woodrow Wilson before him, Progressives have been full on Keynesian.

  • So tell me why do bankers still get bigger bonuses? 
  • Why do politicians estates get larger? 
  • Why the ongoing departure in CEO salary from the common man?

Sir printing money from nothing never solves the effective capital allocation problem. It never will. If it did, why haven’t you yet invented a hose that sprays cash and given said hose to every State Governor and every City Mayor with which to hose down the streets with cash. And even if you did and we all became flush, in a years time would it change anything? How did it work out for Weimar? Zimbabwe?

Sir, only effort changes mud into stucco, only energy changes water into steam, and only the increasingly effective use of these creates real and tangible value for mankind.

You have to reward the effective/punish the ineffective. In our too-big-to-fail world, we do it the other way around.

Money printing is but a trick, Pelosi’s preferred gimmick. A gimmick’s sole purpose is to bamboozle the uninformed. The old drape your arm around my shoulder piss down my leg and make me think its raining trick. Sir, we can only be bamboozled for so long.

It seems the stars are lining up for yet another round of Keynesian stimulus. The people hear you. They want it. They want you to hose them down yet again. And the liquidity will pass, like all rounds before it, down the drain into monuments of stupidity (McMansions in corn fields – UPhoenix degrees for all). And we will all be collectively poorer for it, despite our implied follower-ship to an otherwise more hopeful outcome.

Insanity, doing the same thing again and again expecting a different outcome.

Retarded, stupid is as stupid does.

Dr. Paul, Nobel Prize dude, you are insanely retarded.

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How do Promote and Provide Differ?

By Malcolm Campbell

From the Preamble of the US Constitution –

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In my progressive contemplations and debates I would hang my hat on the word promote as justification for the social welfare state as we know it and the congress’ authority to tax and redistribute as it sees fit in support of the marginal and downtrodden.

I got over that. Heres how;

Promote and provide are not the same.

Provide is to performance as promote is to perception.

Let me synthesize this though my work experience. Readers know me as a tile guy. I lay tile for a living. I am a tile contractor.

I get a contract to do tile work.  It says “provide tile work and promote job site cleanliness.” These requirements mean different things.

I am on the hook for tile, but not job site cleanliness. The Owner may request I pick up a bit but I am only really subject to my own mess (personal responsibility). My warranty and workmanship are on the tile work not the job site cleanliness.

Cleanliness is ephemeral at best. Much like welfare, Cleanliness is non durable, it is consumed at once, and you can never have too much of it. In general a professional workman will only invest in cleanliness to the extent it benefits him.  Benefits accrue in terms of safety and the image he wishes to project both to his fellows on the job (for the sake of harmony) and his customer (for the sake of future business). Promotion here stems from the belief that one’s cleanliness leads to good will among other trades, and word of mouth among the client base.

How does this relate to Mother (Russia) ‘Merica? It seems to me that Promotion is misconstrued for provision. That the government is equally and separably liable for defense as it is for social welfare, in-as-much as Dems expect $1 defense cut for every $1 cut from other essential services. But the desire fails this simple test, When the devil is at the door do you make sure grams gets her meds before or after you dismiss the devil? or When on a plane and the air masks are deployed do you strap on yours first kids second, or the other way around?

We don’t yet live in dark times where choices such as these must be made. But the course of human progress is not linear. We sometimes have to go backward to go forward again. These are those times. When the lion is hungry, you slay the lion. No brainer. Defense precedes welfare. Are you with me this far?

Now then, I think it would be better to admit just how much the current 100 year long social welfare experiment has so far separated the individual from his role to actually provide for his own and or his fellows welfare. Or the role that government has to foster ideas which motivate citizens toward self sufficiency. Welfare and social spending have become no ones problem, and everyone’s all at the same time.  Meanwhile we are all progressively impoverished through fiat taxation to keep up appearances that cash benefits are real. No one benefits save the entitled and the elites.

As the government grows, all localized and private avenues for social welfare are crowded out. We are at the point where not a man could imagine a substitute for Mother Russia it seems impossible that private groups and selfish and self-centered individuals would step into the void to champion the marginalized. How could they? All wealth is taxed away – and what remains diluted through ponzi finance.

That fabric of the US, the cloth that once stood in the breach is now gone. What we have left is an increasingly politicized and polarized net, save the safety. Yet at the same time as the burden to pay is placed higher and higher up the margin of producers more and more see no point in busting ass for what can be had by doing less. Case in point the recent PA State welfare report that indicates a single mom of two is indifferent to the amount of her disposable income between gross earnings of $29k and $69k. In fact there are several benefit cliffs between these that cause making marginally more than $29k less attractive.

This is wrong.

This is a case study on how not to promote general welfare. This is a case of how to promote do-nothing near-do-wells.

I’ll leave it there for now. But in my next post, provided you share your thoughts below, I will offer an alternative approach to providing for the general Welfare. Hint, I am promoting your input.

Posted in Mish, preamble, provide and promote | Comments Off on How do Promote and Provide Differ?

It Was a Sad Day; Will a Sadder Day for Liberty Follow?

by Malcolm Campbell

It was a sad day in Newton CT as yet another school shooting rampage destroys 26 innocent lives, 20 children.

Kent State Shooting

Sandy Hook Shooting

Is this a watershed moment? Is this like Four Dead in Ohio? The May 4, 1970 incident at Kent State University where the Ohio National Guard fired upon an unarmed crowd, killing four injuring one. Kent was a pivotal turn in the anti-war movement. Will Sandy Hook Elementary be a pivotal turn in the gun control movement?

I don’t know.

I urge caution. And here is why. Terrible people do terrible things. They cannot be stopped. All we have is rule of law and faith in a power greater than us.

Hopefully we can all agree that no matter how much you rely on people (your neighbors), or institutions run by people (your government); they will eventually fail you. We are imperfect. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The framers understood this; hence the second amendment. They gave us the right to bear arms to protect ourselves from craven individuals and groups. The 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights was not about preserving a hunter gatherer lifestyle, the framers were farmers. It was and still is about protecting yourself from predators and tyranny, especially tyrannous government. Anyone who thinks predation and tyranny are solved in this modern world is like a boy whistling in the dark.

Today was a sad day indeed. I am grieved, especially for the children.  My prayers go out for the dead (even the shooter), and the surviving family friends and community. I wonder on how to prevent this from happening again. Is more gun control the answer?

Deagle

I say no.

While statistics capture every firearm death and every injurious discharge; And these support the thesis that guns are bad. I beg you to stop, think; Do statistics pick up how much conflict, injury and death are avoided because a potential victim or bystander was carrying? They don’t. Not by a long shot. Indeed yours truly was saved from a brutal beat down, a tragedy averted by a gun toting bystander. No police report filed, no incident recorded. I am indebted to this fellow. I am thankful I am still alive and that I suffer no long term disability from the assault.

Good fences make good neighbors. A gun is an imposing fence. So are guns good just the same? Or is it guns are neither good nor bad, but rather it is the people employing the gun? Should we rather gain greater control over the hearts and minds of individuals before they go bad? Can we really? Or are there some things best left to a higher power? And what of groups going bad? Groups do a far better job signaling their bad intent? The world is full of bad governments, evil dictators, and soulless cartels. They are overt in their intent and yet we are powerless to stop them.

So, go ahead and take away the guns.

Shall I remind you of the growing points of tyranny here at home?

  1. Patriot Act,
  2. National Defense Authorization Act,
  3. Future attempts at SOPA & PIPA? Did US ambasador to the UN Susan Rice’s comments on social media as it relates to Benghazi sow the seeds of discontent over a free and open Internet? How long do you think the Elite of this world will abide the Internet as a counter veiling force to their power?

All three are symptomatic of the increasing tyranny of government in the face of unraveling social contracts;

  • Foreign nationals should not fly planes into our buildings,
  • Diminishing collective bargaining,
  • Right-to-Work.
  • Non-dischargeable student loans in the face diminishing opportunity and payoff.

The trend is not our friend.

Depending on your point of view, freedom fighters are terrorists. And, the prerogative of the powerful is to put down the uprising, Qaddafi and Assad to name a few. All who dissent in the face of increasing power are marked. By writing this, I have no doubt that I am marked.

The road to hell is paved by people of good intent. Take away our guns to protect the children. Now what have you got?

The levers of control are becoming increasingly attractive for narcissists and psychopaths. For it is they who seek control. Good people simply wish to be left alone. Would that the day come that in order to restore the balance of power (is there really balance under an absolute power?) dissenters should be put down; it is far easier to do so when good people are unarmed.

Will that day be like May 4, 197o? A day where we all regain our senses about what right from wrong? Or will it be the massacre of the poor a-la Pappa Doc Duvalier (Haiti) or Francisco Franco (Spain). What assurances can you offer beyond the 2nd Amendment?

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

-Ben Franklin

On that infamous day, three choices will be offered to those that detest guns as the scourge of the earth;

  1. Dying by gunshot,
  2. Finding comfort in armed resistance, or
  3. Joining the apparatus that squeezes the trigger on those who prefer liberty or death.

How will you choose?

 

Posted in Ben Franklin, freedom, gun control, liberty, Tyranny | Comments Off on It Was a Sad Day; Will a Sadder Day for Liberty Follow?

I Have a Right to Work

by Malcolm Campbell

I have a right to work.

In MI.

In Ohio no, but in MI.

HELL YES!

In other news: 13 former Chrysler Union workers were reinstated after firing.  Caught on film drinking 40oz and smoking what appears to be joints while on break, later returning to work.

Mish’s analysis on why the UAW would want them back. Not being a profit maximizing org unions seek to maximize power. Growth being among innate human prerogatives; for individuals as well as for groups. Money is power, dues is money.

Here’s Mish, Questioning Conclusive Evidence – the given reason for reinstatement:

Since when does a film of workers drinking and smoking pot on the job not constitute “conclusive evidence”?

I have the answer. Collective bargaining rules dictate arbitration, typically in a manner highly favorable to the union.

Keep in mind that the mission of the union is to protect the drunks, the drug addicts, the sluggards, and the rule violators from dismissal.

Why?

That’s easy. Because the more inept workers the union can keep employed, the more union workers will be required to do the job. The more union workers there are, the more union dues are collected.

It’s really that simple.

Mo dues, Mo $$$, Mo $$$, Mo power.
Power corrupts absolutely.
No $$$, no power.

If you are a big tree…
we have a small axe…
sharpened to cut you down.
Sharpened to cut you down.

So you know as a wee little tile trade contractor in Ohio, I operate at risk of being taken down by deep pocketed union affiliated law firms all the time. Why? When I respond to RFPs I show pricing to an array of potential General Contractors, some of whom may be signatory to a trade union which claims my work; some of whom not. Its opaque. When I am low and one of the union GC’s get the job, they offer me a contract that states I am part and parcel to certain third party CBA’s if I sign their tender. While the terms are not part of the bidding documents, the GC’s cannot waive the terms. It would breach their CBA. Its like a mafia. If I sign I’m on the hook for a lot of costs both direct labor and administrative compliance.

Last year I had to walk away from 20% of sales over something like this. I only knew better to walk away based on past experience, and the testimony of a fellow small fry who got BK’d on a similar deal. Lost his business and his home. That’s wrong!

Try to understand. I lay tile because it makes me happy. People pay me for it because they like my price and service. I hire other good tile guys because I have a customer problem…too many, a good problem. I retain employees because I pay competitive wages, and I’m a firm and fair leader. And I keep a steady flow of work for them. It’s real simple. We are simple and small. Kinda like most construction businesses… industry stats: 330k businesses and 3.3M workers. Average business size of 10 persons, median is probably 2 or 3, given the occasional 50+ person operation. So, the average business is a LOTC (low overhead trade contractor). Being a LOTC is just not conducive to another layer of compliance. Nor is it conducive toward due diligence on every GC bidding on my projects. Not at the prices paid/expected margins. Still collectivists would have it otherwise.

Plain and simple, unionism in construction protects a cabal of larger firms from the upstarts. If I get uppity, take the wrong project, they sick the union thugs on me. Simple. You probably don’t care and stopped reading, but you should care – you pay for it on all your prevailing wage projects. Where do you think $500 hammers come from? Small frys? Nope. Big bloated firms? Yep. And who do you think gets the job done most cost effectively with best quality and service? A big bloated firm with unmotivated workers all of whom are treated equally no matter how much or how little they accomplish be it poorly or well done? Or the little scrappy guy, the guy who has skin in the game? Is there really a contest?


Contracts bearing 3rd party CBA’s do not survive the competitive test. And so they don’t exist in right to work states. They should be illegal in states with strong collective bargaining traditions. The idea runs counter constitutional.

No one should be made to lose their livelihood and home on account of an honest days work doing something that makes them happy. This is America: life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not USSA. 

CBA’s turn trade labor into slave labor.
Forward Right-to-Work Ohio!

Posted in collective bargaining, liberty, LOTC, Mish, Politics, right to work, right to work Ohio, union | Comments Off on I Have a Right to Work

Four Little Words

In keeping with my theme of the Dance of Sheep and Zombies along with its undertones of mental slavery; I give you two quotes – one quote with four little words from a little man who would be king and another quote of a few more words from a man who once was blind but came to see.

You didn’t Build That

-Barak Obama, US Pres

Self-made men are the men who, under peculiar difficulties and without the ordinary helps of favouring circumstances, have attained knowledge, usefulness, power and position and have learned from themselves the best uses to which life can be put in this world, and in the exercises of these uses to build up worthy character. In fact they are the men who are not brought up but who are obliged to come up, not only without the voluntary assistance or friendly co-operation of society, but often in open and derisive defiance of all the efforts of society and the tendency of circumstances to repress, retard and keep them down.

-Frederick Douglass, former slave

h/t John Aziz of www.azizonomics.com

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Project Location Page for Midwest Mosaic.us

I am in the process of putting up the new site for Midwest Mosaic, Inc., my small construction business based out of Toledo OH, providing skilled ceramic tile installation services to general contractors and construction managers in the tri-state area (OH, IN, MI).  It’s been in the works for a while (a euphamism for “its all up in my head” or straight up PROCRASTINATION).

Of late, I am inspired by Mr. Marty Dukes, a humble painting contractor out of Tulsa, OK. He runs the site theconstructionmarketingpro.com.  His site offers no nonsense approaches to highly effective marketing for the construction small business, including “how to get your site up and running in 15 minutes“, and “the trifecta of proximity marketing“. Bottom line, I really like his style and the quality of his presentations.  One other note: he offers coaching and onsite consulting services to get you up and running for not a lot of dough.  Marty is definitely Worth-the-Risk.

Now that I am done pimping Marty, I want to share with you a page (still up in my head) I want on my site, a page which can help prospects (customers) and potential partners (vendors and labor) gain trust in my regional foot print. I want them to believe that though I am out of Toledo, OH, I am quite capable of servicing them should they be located within my area of operations.

Currently we have projects in New Castle IN, Saintclairsville OH, and Brighton MI as well as ongoing activity in our home town, Muddville (for the Toledo Mud Hens fan). Our area of operations is a triangle with three equal sides spanning 250 miles and covering over 30K square miles!! Wouldn’t it be valuable for my customers to be able to see this graphically?

Here a picture is worth a thousand words.

This morning  I am looking for a hydraulic bottle jack and the Google search returns Harbor Freight stores.  And, the Harbor Freight web site offers a store locator with a map:

This is great, I can see Harbor Freight is in my area, so I will try them today.

I want something like this on my site.  So all I am simply proposing is a Google map backed with data from my projects list.  Simple enough, but the possibilities to inform our audience expand from there.  For instance, clicking on a project map icon should take the user to a unique page of blog posts filtered for the project. Or we could if we wanted, filter the map for segments of work…say residential or commercial…food service or healthcare.  You get the picture.

Do you think this is Worth the Risk?  What other features should go with the project location page?

 

Posted in Google maps, marketing, Marty Dukes, project locator map, Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on Project Location Page for Midwest Mosaic.us

The Dance of Sheep and Zombies

By Malcolm Campbell, Founder worththeriskblog.com

The title of this could have been: On the Origins of Worth-the-Risk, or Does Risk Taking Lead to Security? But I took of poll of Sheep and Zombies who are likely voters and they prefer the current title.  After all its all about them these days.

Actually, this article is about my world view and a path toward emotional and economic security for me and others while we still live in it.

World View:  The economy is far more depressed than our leaders and the media let on. This of course is toward the purpose of sustaining the norm, and protecting the-powers-that-be. At the highest levels among both Democrats and Republicans, it is well understood that asset values must be propped at all costs in order to maintain cash flows to bond holders and entitlement recipients (holders of social contracts). Hence, assets are presently overpriced in relation to general incomes (especially those found in the private sector); this despite the most recent housing collapse.

I’m not going to provide all the backup information, but readers are encouraged to read some works of Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, Past and Present Chairmen of the US Fed, and learn something about Dr. Michael Bury, a simple hard working yet inquisitive man who made a fortune off of the housing collapse stemming from Fed induced policy (Money for nothing to protect favored classes). No matter your view on the morality of these men and the activities which take up their time, their histories intertwine in a way to prove the extraordinary cognitive dissonance and bias at work within our society, and the massive wealth that is won and lost when, at times, perception meets reality.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it!

-Upton Sinclair

Some men say bubbles cannot be predicted while others can predict the sector, the size, and the due date of its bursting. We are at all times prisoners of our own bias, seeking confirmation ignoring dis-confirmation.  We are as always like so many sheep willingly led to the slaughter as opposed free people of liberty we are now permitted to be.

A reality we can agree upon: Jobs are scarce, and the value of things we need; homes, food, and energy are too high and moving further out of reach as incomes stagnate or decline.  Add insult to injury, Capital continues to signal that we are paid too much to be competitive.  Yet Capital always signals this, and in times like these Capital holds all the power, it will have us for nothing if permitted.  A reminder: not too long ago we could be had for less than the cost of living on Capital’s property (Company Store anyone?).  How far removed is that from true slavery?  And how close do you feel as though you are working to pay down your debt to the company store? Are you just living-to-work? Do you even have work?

In slavery, there is no emotional or economic security.  There is only suffering without reward; the death of dreams unrealized.

Questions: We live in a free country.  We have choices.  So, at what price do you choose not to participate in the norm?  At what price do you allocate your time talent and treasure to something completely different from the norm?

I believe now is the best time to break away from the pack (sheep analogy) and go your own way, be a free man or woman of purpose. Costs are too high and prices paid are too low to capitulate to the norm.

Another analogy; the Zombies: Our leaders offer the path of Zombies as the way out of a rotten economy.  Zombies: The undead (claims on unearned income) permitted to live simply to consume our brains (ability to create) and our very life force (ability to earn income).  The norm is to print and prop at the expense of the productive economy and our youth. It is not sustainable and it will collapse or dissolve into greater and greater financial repression.

This is wrong, and it is immoral. And I for one will not stand for it nor participate in it. And, I will not risk my time or capital working in an enterprise dependent on the norm.

What to do: I advocate for collapse, and the sooner the better, but that is not my affair – my name is not Bernanke. In either case; collapse or continued repression, I want to be hanging onto something real and tangible.  Something that holds its value. Many suggest gold, yet how can you hold gold if you haven’t the cash to exchange for it in the first place. For the similarly broke and indebted, I suggest cultivating a real and valuable skilled trade. For example, I am a tile setter. I can sell my time and labor tiling your bathroom. And, I am also a skilled idea creator and writer. Probably a better ideator (word?) than writer, yet if you have gotten this far I have at least captured your attention for a bit – so I have some market acceptance as a writer going for me.

Get your Zombie Vaccine Here: Now, I want something real, because as we go along in this Zombie repression, there will be fewer and fewer slots available in the norm and more and more people on their own seeking remuneration in exchange for deeds – (done dirt cheap!?) On the collapse, I don’t want to be spit out with the masses left to fend for myself amongst them, my only marketable skill being a cog in a much larger wheel. I want to have my fending machine put in place now, so come the day, I have the means to fend for what I need for me and my team. A team of like minded individualists who are as dynamic and broadly skilled as I, capable of getting most anything done, be it the heavy lifting of concrete or of translating ideas into marketable services.

Breakdowns before Breakthroughs: Let me be clear, collapse does not imply doom, rather it is a transformational event. An opportunity. A stripping of power and assets from one group and a their passing on to another presumably more effective group. Happens all the time in true capitalism. A gardener prunes the rose bush to the ground in winter for success in the spring. When the pruning comes, I don’t want to be among the old growth. I want to be what lies beneath, the root and the soil, preparing for the next spring bearing young green shoots and lovely flowers for all to enjoy. And to be sure, I am a bit prickly, but then so was Steve Jobs.

A Career is a Luxury I cannot afford: I came to this conclusion post MBA 2009 as I found it difficult to break into a company and start a new career (the impetus for getting an MBA in the first place). I saw great downside risk and little upside reward. Employers today can no longer offer any long term security. If I go into a company, I go in the ground floor at low pay, working for a ladder-climbing-political-animal 10-15 years my junior. Likely an individual more focused on career risk (risk averse as opposed to risk taking or risk making), hence threatened by me (a natural risk taker and risk maker), and dispossessed toward mutual collaboration  and shared success. Along the way, I am much more at risk of some career-ending-move or the eventual demise of my company rather than long term success. In the end, while I might be able to secure a job for a time along with some pay and benefits, the likely outcome is a tenure more poorly paid and shorter than I need only to find myself out of a job sooner than I can afford – only older and less employable going forward (and with little to no capital to show for it).

A better way: Now, If I am going to take on that kind of risk, I want some upside. And I don’t have the time to put up with some risk averse 30-something with the power to burn me for his or her own gain. No thanks. I would rather risk it on my own. Pursue my own dream.  Build my own capital base. Take my poverty in-the-now with the opportunity for a better payoff down-the-road. Besides, poverty while pursuing dreams does not equate to slavery. While slavery is impoverishing, the true source of suffering in the condition stems from its dream-crushing reality – mostly self induced. Consider the starving artist; One can be blissfully penniless while working on their art, but never a slave doing what she loves. And that’s the crux of it: pursuing a dream is like being in love.

…And that is the crux of it: pursuing a dream is like being in love. And, it is far better to love and lose than to never play the game.

Look the game is rigged for most to end up losers. And in the end we all die anyway.  The only thing that differs is the path you choose.  Increasingly the normal path we choose, the way our parents and their parents before them made a better life for their children and us, is getting further out of reach for more and more of us.

So how do you wish to go through? Dependent on an increasingly unsustainable norm? Or making your own way? To thine own self be true.

On the promise of youth: Our youth are undervalued and underutilized, a tax is placed upon them greater than any care to recognize. Young people today (and the recently young among us), just as they have always been, represent our greatest asset, poised to consume yet prevented from doing so due to lack of a classic career path coupled with humiliating salaries and zero job security. Only in Zombie economies do the young go underutilized. In the Zombie economy everything is geared toward supporting unsustainable legacies. This is how it was in the Depression 90 years ago, and only the cataclysmic transformational event of a Great War reversed the trend as we sent so many of our young off to battle, off to camps, and off to die. We owed them a great debt, and we repaid it.

Our Present Catalyst: Today we live in a great changing time. When I look across the last 20 years (the time since I emerged from college a freshly minted Bachelor in Engineering). In ’92 I weaned myself from DOS and onto Win 3.1. There was no Netscape, no browsing, so no internet as we know and love it today. Since then a place called Silicon Valley has spun out a parade of wining ideas and young millionaires and billionaires. All by satisfying needs we never knew we had.

  • Bezos redefined retailing and the value of the long tail through Amazon, mass no longer matters – now its all about the niche and shopping in your PJ’s.
  • Page and Brin set information free with Google creating perhaps the best place in the whole world to work (if you are under 40).

Then dotcom mania and the tech wreck of 2000, a pruning of the rose bush in its own right. Just completed and over built trans-ocean internet cables bankrupted their many and over-levered developers leading to low cost global broadband. How, where, when, and by whom work gets done changed forever.

And, Silicon Valley issued a squadron of newer and cooler social media concepts, ways to better connect us all everywhere and all the time;

  • Linkedin
  • Twitter, and
  • Facebook, so now we have a new best place in the whole world to work (if you are under 30)

While Silicon Valley with its moneyed VC’s and its beautiful geography lovely climate and bright minds will always live in infamy, increasingly we are seeing cool apps emerge from power places such as New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.  Yet the tech wreck and cheap broadband showed place no longer matters. So we see iPhone apps coming out of everywhere, Prague Chezch Republic, Davenport Iowa, and all places in between.

And the price of distributing ideas costs next to nothing except for ones time to jot them down and the effort to get them distributed. In the viral case, distribution cost is nil. Print media and the entertainment business as we know it is dying, along with the ability of the big boys (Proctor and Gamble) et al. to compel you to choose Tide over the mom and pop soap shop next door.

Conclusion: So I wonder if a fellow based out of Toledo, OH. A humble tile setter through the help of a globally connected network of mutually interested individuals, can convert idea to marketable service with little capital and even less gravitas of geographic origin. This has to be the case, because if there is to be any hope for our future, young people must be inspired to develop and promote their ideas as marketable goods and services for others. Or if they are not quite seasoned and still tentative, they should be encouraged to work with similar individuals further along the curve, so as to develop their own marketable skill and confidence of self to go it alone.

I have a niche: the LOTC (Low-Overhead-Trade-Contractor), a population of perhaps 250,000 companies employing 3M individuals. And I have a passion: Offering them useful ways to gain credibility in the growing green building segment of the construction industry. It is better in my opinion to discover if this is possible than to toil away for some global conglomerate or has been Fortune 500 on its way down to 1000 and out.

This is for my benefit and that of my fellows.  This is for the young and undervalued and the recently young and underemployed. There is a way forward.  Do not capitulate to the norm.  And know that no matter the price Capital bids;

We are all Worth-the-Risk.  

What do you think?

 

Posted in bernanke, Capital, career, collapse, dream, dream-crushing, favored class, Fed, freedom, Jobs, liberty, losing, LOTC, love, Michael Bury, poverty, repression, sheep, slavery, Team, Upton Sinclair, zombie | Comments Off on The Dance of Sheep and Zombies

How to Access your email with Gmail

I’ve been searching for a way to access email accounts I create through Bluehost.  Not that it is hard to do.  I’m just picky on how I want to proceed.  In tech, a choice made leads to legacy issues.  I want to make the right choice, or do nothing.  Better to have no legacy than one you regret.  But a choice must be made, the impediment to it is finding the right info. Enter a simple Google search, and up pops the video below explaining how to set up your Bluehost generated email(s) through Gmail.

I’m ready to make a choice.

I like Gmail because of its integrated features with Calendar and the Android hardwares I use, Smartphone and Tablet.

Note: there are many options on how to get your email, Bluehost supports a wide range of them.  Not just limited to Gmail. Other options include;

Bluehost Webmail Portal

Setting up in any Client

Let me know what you think.

 

 

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Marketing Plans for Midwest Mosaic (Post 1 of 2)

By Malcolm Campbell, President and Chief Tile Guy at Midwest Mosaic

Midwest Mosaic, Inc. provides skilled ceramic tile installation labor in the tri-state region centered around Toledo, OH.  Serving the residential client directly and the commercial markets through general contractors, MWM sells its skilled labor with a dual strategy, “Market Prices; Superior Performance” – a difficult yet necessary and balanced approach for these times where customers get more for less.  While I own and manage MWM, I spend the majority of my time on my knees installing the tile.

I’m thinking about two marketing channels; b2b and b2b2c, and I will discuss these in two posts.

In this post, I will discuss our b2b approach; what’s working, why it’s not enough, and how we are going to make MWM’s b2b a better fit for its two prong strategy.  Next post, I’ll discuss my thoughts on b2b2c still in the development phase.  Hopefully, I can get you to think and leave your comments below.  Who knows your participation below may lead to an engagement with Mosaic, Inc.

Background

B2b, or business to business, is working for us right now.  That’s a good start but it is no end state, because our b2b approach is strictly low bid – no comfort for Superior Performance.  Still but a dream, B2b2c, or business to business to consumer is the networked approach.  Effective networking compels other businesses who are in closer proximity to our target to suggest us as the preferred service provider.   Awards in b2b2c are based more on reputation than price; hence, prices reflect a preference other than low bid.  However, this being Toledo, OH and not New York, NY even affluent Toledoans are relatively price sensitive.

On MWM’s B2B

Midwest Mosaic employs a classic Plan and Spec Bidding tactic to build a pipeline of projects.  A tactic I have employed successfully with various commercial construction concerns for over 15 years.

In a nutshell, we subscribe to one or many project news services.  Serving the commercial sector, the news services provide detailed leads on upcoming work; project names, owners, location of the work, date of the bid, plans, specs, and list of general contractors (MWM potential customers) on the project, etc.  We use this information to advertise tile pricing to general contractor prospects on any given project.

Q: What’s the first thing an estimator asks when he learns he won a bid?

A:”What did I leave out?”

Think of the tactic like an inbox/outbox. General contractors dump detailed information into an inbox for analysis. Our analysis yields our best low price for tiling a project. We place our best low price on a proposal in the outbox for the general contractors’ information and use.  And so goes the life of a low bid commercial construction estimator, regardless of the skilled trade or contracting tier. Plans in, bids out.  Little feedback, lot of silence.  Few winners, and all the screw-ups you can handle.

How’s b2b working for us?  Fantastic! About a year ago this month, I subscribed to BidClerk.com with a goal to double my sales year-over-year.  By August 31, we will have billed 2x in 2012 with four months to go.

How’s the margins? So far so good, margins continue to exceed what is customary and usual in the trade.  I owe this principally because I am still a significant part of MWM’s production team.

Will it scale? No. As MWM grows, my cost advantage on production will subside unless I can effectively train the culture to be clones of me.  Not likely, and even if I did, they would deserve better pay than me, because most of them are or will be better installers than me.  In short, I’m making margins because I work hard for cheap and it rubs off the right way with the guys.

MWM’s plan and spec bidding tactic is a pure low bid approach.  At volume, MWM will fail or have to abandon its Superior Performance aspirations.  Here’s why.  The marketplace resembles perfect competition.  It treats us like a commodity; my competitors may enter/exit the market with ease, together we are price takers based on our collective lowest best price.  Too often my lowest best price is shipped to my competition unless I am stupid low; hence, MWM gains a disproportionate share of marginal to unprofitable work, meanwhile our labor cost structure escalates as we scale.  Unless we assume our competition’s pure low bid repose, we will die.

I’ve seen our competition, and they ain’t pretty.

While they may give lip service to quality, I can assure you Superior Performance does not become them.  I could go on about how they; cut corners, treat their workforce, and forego timely payments to vendors – but I won’t.  Point is they are trainwrecks in the making, one big screw-up from bankruptcy (BK).  On their way to BK, they enjoy being somebody’s preferred service provider.  Somebody’s homeboy if you will.  That somebody is our potential customer, but for the fact they keep giving our best low price to their homeboy – unless, of course, our best price is so stupid low (via our screw-up) that their homeboy says, “Hell no! Let Mosaic choke on it!”

Put it this way, I could be everybody’s homeboy if I bid every job for a buck (Larry, Daryl, and Daryl?), and I could give them all Superior Performance until I ran out of money.

Quickly, that would be that.

I could extend and pretend for a while longer if I dumped the guise of Superior Performance; and, cheated my employees, cut every corner possible and stiffed my vendors – in effect become the trainwreck I disparage.

(Side note: Strategy dictates what activities you can and cannot do, and low bid is the domain of poorly paid and poorly served organizations one wrong move from bankruptcy.  My competition typically has a marginal point of differentiation. They are good people and not the trainwrecks I make them out to be.  It’s just that I needed the strawman for the editorial point. If it were this simple, it would be easy; and if it were easy, everybody would become tilers or plumbers or electricians.)

Nonetheless, I have seen it possible to deliver Superior Performance using the Plan and Spec Bidding approach.

So it is Worth the Risk.

Enter the Million Dollar Tile Guy, John S. of New Jersey.  In 2005 his tiling business was doing so well, he drew a salary…A SALARY…of $1M.  You don’t pay yourself a salary, let alone a $1M salary, unless you you are confident about your sales and production teams, and together you have demonstrated consistent results over time.  Million Dollar Tile Guy ($MTG) succeeded where so many failed, because he meticulously collected and utilized the data about his pricing efforts in a way that compelled his potential customers to choose him instead of shipping his best low price to their homeboys of the moment.  His process, which I dub Plan and Spec Marketing, transcended the ineffectiveness of the Plan and Spec Bidding.

$MTG systematized his process in the 80’s, then paid a programmer to create a database/CRM program (DOS days folks) to make the grunt work simple and easy, so even a clerk could execute it.  Subsequently he and his estimators were relieved to focus on doing good bids and closing them.  They could afford the time to do so because they were converting more deals on fewer bids.  And, his deal pipeline was not skewed to the stupid low bid; consequently, he could afford to deliver Superior Performance, because; his employees were treated well, he cut no corners (w/o sharing the savings), and he sent his vendors timely payments on volumes of business.

Conclusion

While Plan and Spec Bidding is effective in securing work for MWM, the quality of its deal pipeline is expected to be marginal to unprofitable while costs escalate with scale.  Disaster awaits failure to change.  The time is now to begin implementing a data intensive Plan and Spec Marketing approach to plug-in to its tried and true low bid approach.  Superior Performance is at stake along with all its spoils; employee well being, great tilework, and timely payment at volume for vendors.  Data begets need for; survey instruments, process, survey rewards, communication, and technology.  Thinking about CRM here (suggestions?).  Given I still need to spend substantial time on direct production, successful implementation will require the right human resources.

What do you think? What would it be like to be in the Million Dollar Tile Guy’s shoes?  Wouldn’t you like to be a part of a team which developed an effective marketing service in a seemingly futile and chaotic ecosystem?  Let me know, because we at WTR Blog work on problem solutions such as these every day.

Malcolm may be reached on twitter @mudduck if you need him.

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Mouse House Studios Goes Live

Previous visitors to my Ventures page may recall Mouse House Studios among the list. Mouse House is a closely held small business engaged in various real estate activities. With the completion of its first property 619 Acklin Ave, available for rent April 1, 2012, it was about time to get the site up and rolling.

Would have done so sooner had I known what tools are available to the WordPress newbie, and how easy they would be to use. Procrastination, thy name is Malcolm.

So go on over and check it out.  Mouse House is an interesting story to be sure.

Now, with what attention of yours I have left, I want to promote the idea to the budding entrepreneur and reader alike (because don’t we all know an entrepreneur close to home?) Some words of support/advice, because the recovery depends on entrepreneurs.

While your idea may be far out, high risk, ground breaking, and extremely innovative; it is important to have some present day revenue producing projects, preferably the low risk low reward types; such as a day job.

I know!….right?, reminds you of the guitarist come garage band player, the hair is perfect, the clothes are right, the riffs are mind blowing innovative; passion for the art abounds.  Enthusiasm for the next gig is all that seems to matter.  Yet the familiar refrain to the raconteur, “Don’t quit your day job” abounds.

And that’s what Mouse House is about, and Midwest Mosaic for that matter. These are my day jobs, low risk low reward ventures that get to revenue in no time at all.  And revenue is what separates the dreamers from the developers.  The projects buy my freedom one week of free cash flow at a time. Whilst in the process of working on these humble endeavors, I discover new tools and skills; such as putting up a WordPress site. Hint: its all in the templates. I get to collaborate with awesome people like Tina Gionis Photograpy and Tuhin Das, web designer. You guys are Worth the Risk!  Finally, I practice investment (delay gratification) and realize return on investment (gratification); however meager it may be.

For these I view as building blocks toward the bigger and riskier projects.  The road to success is just that…a road.  Enjoy the trip.

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